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Two Minutes With …

This question-and-answer feature will help you get to know some of the faculty in the Cedars-Sinai Department of Surgery.

Mark Vrahas, MD

Mark Vrahas, MD, chair of the Department of Orthopaedics

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Dubois, Pennsylvania, which is a very small town about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. My family was in the restaurant business, and we owned two restaurants and a bakery. One of the restaurants was a hot dog shop with hot dogs much better than Pink's. We sold hot dog sauce in all the major grocery chains in western Pennsylvania and New York.

Why did you decide to specialize in orthopaedic surgery?

I came to orthopaedics through biomechanics research. In the summer of my second year of medical school in Pittsburgh, I was walking by a lab where they were smashing bones in a mechanical testing machine. It looked like so much fun that I ask the lab director if I could join the research effort. With that first exposure to orthopaedics and orthopaedic surgeons, I was hooked.

If you were not a physician, what career would you choose?

I would be a world cup skier or professional golfer. But since I am not very good at either of those things, I guess I would have to fall back on the family business as a restaurateur.

Outside the operating room, where do you find inspiration?

I find it in the mountains, fishing, skiing or hiking. I love the wisdom of the old mountains in the east and the drama of the Rockies.

What is the funniest thing a patient has ever said to you?

I really can't recall anything that we could actually publish.

Is there something or someplace you have never seen that you would like to see in the near future?